In November 2019, a milestone was reached in the world of libraries and interlibrary resource sharing:  the submission of the 200 millionth request from a library to obtain a copy of an article needed by one of its faculty.  The library that placed that request was the Oregon Institute of Technology.  We know which library placed the milestone request because each request has its own unique identifier.

The requested article was not an easy one to obtain, but behind the scenes, library staff worked their magic to get it.   That is what interlibrary resource sharing is all about.

While we may not have placed that 200 millionth request, the staff at the Jacob Burns Law Library contributes to those hundreds of millions of requests by providing faculty, students and staff with interlibrary resource sharing services.  The library staff works hard to meet the research needs of our users.  And, in the process, we’ve been known to create some behind the scenes magic to find the needed resources.

The Burns Law Library maintains an excellent and extensive collection of research materials both in physical as well as digital formats.  But, like any library, having everything is not possible.  If you are a user of the Jacob Burns Law Library services and resources, you may have needed a resource that wasn’t available at this library.  So, you wondered how were you going to obtain this resource that you want and/or need?  Being the savvy user that you are, you knew the library could get it for you.  And you were right.

The Interlibrary Resource Sharing (ILRS) department is the unit that takes your request for an item and scours the world to see if another library will supply it.   It does so through the connection this library has to hundreds of other libraries, throughout the world, via an interlibrary resource sharing system called the Online Computer Library Center, universally known as OCLC.  Through the OCLC system, this library will borrow items and obtain copies of material for faculty, staff, and students of GW Law.  And this library will loan materials and supply copies to any library that makes a request through the OCLC system.  In addition, the library participates in a local interlibrary resource sharing network, CLS (Consortium Loan Service) that allows you to make direct requests to a partner library in the WRLC (Washington Research Library Consortium).

So, as you submit that interlibrary resource sharing request, just think, yours could be number 300,000,000.

Post authored by Leslidiana Jones, Head of Document Services